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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Alinea 7: Architecture

Perhaps the most contentious dish that Mr. Achatz does among bloggers is the "hot potato, cold potato", because it is so carefully architected in temperature and ingredients that it allows too little time for photography.

Imagine, if you will, a bit of warm potato soup, over which is held a piece of butter, a piece of cheese, a piece of cold potato, and a slice of truffle. The bowl, incidentally, must be made of paraffin. That enables the use of the pin for holding the cold ingredients above. The diner is instructed to pull out the pin, which slips the cold ingredients into the soup, and the paraffin seals up the hole. The diner is to toss back the resulting concoction of contrasts, hot and cold, buttery and truffled, as a single mouthful.

Few dishes are constructed to be so timing crucial. As the heat rises from the soup, it affects the items suspended above it. If it cools too much, the contrasts in the mouthful are lost. Thus, the uneasiness of entertaining the time spent getting the absolutely perfect food porn shot.

Verdict: it's quite good, but I suspect the strong luxury of having a slice of truffle in it overwhelms the nuance a bit. Because without it, well, it's a very tricky bit of potato soup. Not that it's a bad thing, but that's peasant food putting on airs.

Previously on this series:

Alinea 6: The Stacked Sphere
Alinea 5: The Ikea Course
Alinea 4: Clarity
Alinea 3: Chinky Chicken
Act 2: Green
A symphony in 21 acts

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